The bridge spanning Uruguay's Laguna Garzón is hardly straightforward.
In fact, it's a circle.
Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects — the same firm behind Uruguay's sleek Carrasco Airport and the whisper-thin New York skyscraper 432 Park Ave. — the Laguna Garzón bridge was created with a distinct plan in mind: get more people across the lagoon and slow down their vehicles in the process.
Before the architecture firm came along, the only way travelers could traverse Laguna Garzón was via a rudimentary raft crossing. One by one, cars would load onto individual rafts that could transport them to the other side.
Now with the bridge in place, more than 1,000 vehicles will cross each day, according to Consultatio Real Estate.
Each half of the circular bridge is composed of a one-way road that swings out wide into the lagoon. As opposed to ordinary bridges, where motorists can speed down a mile-long straightaway, the Laguna Garzón bridge forces people to slow down.
The entire project cost $11 million, $10 million of which came from Argentinian real-estate developer Eduardo Constantini.
According to Constantini, the bridge will also serve as a tourist attraction, observation deck, fishing spot, and cultural link between the counties of Rocha and Maldonado.
"It is an iconic architectural piece that will be a catalytic factor in driving the development of Rocha's coastline," the developer said in an email statement to Tech Insider. "Just 35% of the stretch between the two lagoons can be developed and 50% must be devoted to green areas."
Consultatio / Las Garzas
The bridge is meant to usher in a new era of Uruguayan culture, Constantini explains. Maldonado county is already fairly developed, while Rocha remains mostly untouched.
Six years worth of public hearings and agreements went into building the circular piece of infrastructure. Construction began in September 2014 and the bridge is now open to the public, a little over a year later.